Delicious Living Senior Health Editor Susan Esrey weighs in with tips on choosing the perfect multivitamin.
Look for 100 percent of daily values (DVs)
For most nutrients, these tend to be one-size-fits-all amounts, so you may want to consider a multivitamin that’s targeted to your age, gender, or goal (say, heart health) to meet specific needs. But “megadoses” aren’t necessarily better and may not be fully absorbed.
Check serving size
This can vary from one to six pills daily, so weigh what will fit into your routine—and your budget. Although convenient, one-a-days fall short in some areas, especially minerals, so you may need a separate calcium-magnesium supplement.
Beneath the vitamin and minerals on the Supplement Facts panel, you may find herbs and other nutrients. These can offer added bang for your nutrition buck: For instance, some high-quality multis now include digestive enzymes, to boost absorption.
Sniff out "other ingredients"
At the panel’s very bottom, you’ll find this list, which can include artificial colors, sweeteners, lubricants, fillers, and binders, such as FD&C dyes, lactose, sucrose, and magnesium stearate. These may be allergenic and can compromise supplements’ effectiveness. Try to choose products with no more than two such ingredients, and if you want to avoid animal products such as gelatin, make sure capsules are vegetarian.